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Aug 30, 2014 - 07:10 AM
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2014 Fontana: IndyCar Starting Line-up & Race Preview
Posted by: ASkyler on Aug 30, 2014 - 07:10 AM
IndyCar News
2014 Fontana: IndyCar Starting Line-up & Race Preview

Can Will Power finally win an IndyCar championship ?

Can Will Power finally win an IndyCar championship ?
Credit: PaddockTalk / Paul Hurley

By Mike Sulka

Looking for a fast, yet scenic track. Look no further than Fontana! The IndyCar series has been racing on the 2.0-mile D shaped oval in Fontana, California (California / Auto Club Speedway) since 2002. The first open-wheel event was a CART race - in 1997 - which was won by Mark Blundell in a Reynard / Mercedes.

Did we mention Fontana was fast ? The fastest Pole lap closed-course qualifying lap was set by Gil de Ferran at 241.428 mph. The fastest open-wheel 400-mile race ever was at Fontana. The 207.151 mph average was set in 2003 by Sam Hornish Jr in a Dallara / Chevrolet.

While the cars have been slowed down, the track is still capable of putting up record results.

Overall, there have been 12 open-wheel races at the track. Six times by CART with Jimmy Vasser as the only two-time winner (1998, 2002), and six times by IndyCar with Sam Hornish Jr the only two-time winner (2002, 2003).

The race has been won from Pole twice including two of the last three events at the track. So that's good news for Helio Castroneves who will start from Pole tonight. Juan Pablo Montoya will also start on the front row. The race has been won twice from the second starting position in 12 attempts. Overall, the race has been won from fourth or higher eight out of 12 times. Thus, keep an eye on Josef Newgarden and Takuma Sato who start third and fourth respectively.

Its good to qualify well at Fontana.

While the fight for the win will be important, all eyes will be on Will Power. The question on everyone's mind is.... Can Will Power finally win a championship, or will he choke for the fourth time ? That may seem harsh, but Power has lost three championships while leading the points standings entering the season finale. (2010 Homestead result: crash, 2011 Kentucky result: pit lane incident, 2012 Fontana result: crash).

Tonight Power will hold a 50-point advantage over his pole sitting teammate Castroneves heading into the start of the double points race, but Power will start 21st. Power could have avoided all the drama, but he spun at Sonoma last week.

As a result, we are picking Castroneves for the win, and the championship. While he is already a champion of the Indianapolis 500, it will be Castroneves' first major season championship of any kind.

Enjoy tonight's 500-miler! It is sure to be a late-night thriller!


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2014 Fontana (Auto Club): IRL IndyCar Qualifying Results
Pos Num Driver Engine Speed
1. (3) Helio Castroneves Dallara-Chevy 218.540
2. (2) Juan Pablo Montoya Dallara-Chevy 217.621
3. (67) Josef Newgarden Dallara-Honda 217.600
4. (14) Takuma Sato Dallara-Honda 217.323
5. (9) Scott Dixon Dallara-Chevy 217.057
6. (83) Charlie Kimball Dallara-Chevy 217.017
7. (10) Tony Kanaan Dallara-Chevy 216.857
8. (7) Mikhail Aleshin Dallara-Honda 216.726
9. (28) Ryan Hunter-Reay Dallara-Honda 216.305
10. (15) Graham Rahal Dallara-Honda 216.299
11. (27) James Hinchcliffe Dallara-Honda 215.898
12. (8) Ryan Briscoe Dallara-Chevy 215.878
13. (77) Simon Pagenaud Dallara-Honda 215.752
14. (20) Ed Carpenter Dallara-Chevy 215.326
15. (11) Sebastien Bourdais Dallara-Chevy 214.713
16. (19) Justin Wilson Dallara-Honda 214.486
17. (98) Jack Hawksworth Dallara-Honda 214.173
18. (25) Marco Andretti Dallara-Honda 214.109
19. (34) Carlos Munoz Dallara-Honda 213.991
20. (17) Sebastian Saavedra Dallara-Chevy 213.981
21. (12) Will Power Dallara-Chevy 212.604
22. (18) Carlos Huertas Dallara-Honda 202.319

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